A little post-Valentine's Day fluff for your perusal. Rated "M" for a reason.
Harry (and more importantly Hermione and Severus) belong to JKR.
Per usual this story is dragoon811's fault. I swear, she's breeding plot bunnies and slipping them into my house at night.
Severus was sitting in the teacher's lounge after a long day contemplating nothing more than the whiskey in his glass when Minerva strode in and poured herself a double.
"I've a bet with Poppy about the rosebushes….try not to blast more than an even dozen this year at the dance will you?"
He cocked a brow at the headmistress. "I wouldn't blast any if your students would cease making spectacles of themselves in them."
"Where you ever young Severus? Professor Merrythought might have caught me in them once or twice. Of course she didn't feel the need to blast the flora apart to make her point...every single year."
"And yet…every single year I still catch a few…what does that say about the future of wizarding society, I wonder?"
The elderly witch took a long drink. "Well for one thing it says that we're likely to have another generation to teach at any rate."
"Pardon me while I attempt to suppress my joy." He made a show of draining his glass.
"Don't be maudlin Severus it doesn't suit you."
He raised a brow and refilled his glass. "I'm hardly maudlin Minerva. And to answer your rather impertinent question…yes, I was young once, you should remember; you were a teacher at the time…and just because I was never caught does not mean that I didn't indulge."
"Oh?" She giggled like a schoolgirl. "I think that's every teacher except Professor Granger, who has admitted to it."
"You needn't go far for an admission. I saw her kissing that oaf McLaggin at one of Slughorn's deplorable Christmas parties."
She gave him the same look she'd been giving him for years. "Kissing under the mistletoe hardly counts Severus."
"It counted enough to turn my stomach." He took a long drink and grimaced. "At least it wasn't Weasley." He did not care to examine his distaste for the other professor's suitors too closely.
Flitwick entered, levitating a large stack of parchment, Madam Hootch on his heels.
"I'm just saying that you need to keep an eye on him this year."
The little Charms professor nodded absently as he tried to sort through the rolls. "I have to keep an eye on him every year my dear…nothing new about that." The Amazonian flying instructor looked down at her tiny husband. "Mark my words…Hagrid is up to something…he wouldn't meet my eyes when I asked him about it."
Flitwick sighed. "I won't let him go too overboard."
Severus snorted. "I wonder what you consider overboard…his pumpkins at Halloween could have housed whole families."
Flitwick muttered darkly about being outnumbered as his wife dropped a kiss on his head and walked out.
It happened that the Valentine's Day festivities were perhaps the last thing on anyone's mind during the final days leading up to the holiday.
Severus later reflected that it might have been coincidence that Hagrid was the first to contract it…then again, considering the information that latter came to light, perhaps that was stretching coincidence too far.
Whatever the cause, the fact remained that only days before the much anticipated Holiday, a goodly portion of the castle either contracted or was a victim of Gorgon Pox.
A typical scene went as follows:
Professor Granger was showing her second year class the proper wand movement with which to transfigure mice into teacups when she was suddenly overcome with a strong sneezing fit. She was a bit upset that not a single student had given her a polite 'bless you' (she insisted on good manners in her classroom) when she looked up and noticed two things:
First, her skin was rather green and her hair was hissing.
Second, her entire class was turned to stone.
Severus was using every swear word in his considerable vocabulary as he chopped up mandrakes for the huge batches of restoration draught. "Bloody Gorgon Pox…more trouble than a bleeding basilisk."
To spare himself the indignity of fluffy green earmuffs, he'd spelled a pair of ear plugs to make them impervious to the mandrake's cries. He'd constructed some of the most powerful wards he'd ever put up around his lab, and proceeded to chop the roots into tiny bits. So it was a shock when he turned around to see Professor Granger in his work room.
"It's alright Severus; I haven't turned anyone to stone all day." Her skin looked significantly less green and the snakes in her hair only ventured a feeble hiss at his presence.
"I was referring to the fact that the cry of the mandrake is fatal you insolent girl."
She rolled her eyes and pulled out two wads of cotton. "I did attend my second year at Hogwarts professor. If you remember correctly I have reason enough to know the properties of the mandrake."
He gave one last vicious swipe at the roots. "You also had good reason to avoid brewing polyjuice, but I noticed that you used quite a bit of that."
The limp snakes in her hair muttered a more menacing hiss.
He looked down his nose at the squirming mass. "I suppose you had a reason to disturb me when I so obviously didn't wish to be disturbed?"
She didn't miss a beat. "No, I make a habit of spending time with people who despise me."
He smirked, say what you would about the witch, she always gave as good as she got…in verbal sparring at least. He corrected the trajectory of his wayward thoughts. "I see you are at the loose tongue phase of recovery." He stepped closer and looked down at the petite witch and purred into her ear. "It works like truth serum you know."
She held her ground and smirked up at him. "I took a tongue tied tonic to keep it under control since most of the other professors are still making statuary out of the students…which leads me to the reason I took down your rather impressive wards: you are the acting headmaster, and as such, you need to see what Hagrid's done to the Great Hall."
He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Surely it isn't that imperative…"
"Would I have spent half an hour breaking into your sanctum sanctorum if it wasn't? We need to get down there…I told him to keep the students away, but there's not telling if he listened." She walked away tossing her curls and causing the remaining snakes in her hair to hiss loudly. She smirked slightly as she looked over her shoulder at him; teeth still slightly pointed from the pox "…after all…they're just harmless, misunderstood creatures…right?"
His eyes widened at her retreating back. He grabbed his cloak and raced after her. Hopefully Hagrid hadn't invited something into the Great Hall that would eat the students…
She turned to look at the irritating man as he followed behind her.
"How is it that you aren't hissing?" Damn…the tongue tied tonic was wearing off…
She looked back again. He was buttoning his outer robes. Seeing his lean frame without the robes felt as intimate as seeing another man naked…
"If you must know, I contracted it as a child."
The words slipped out. "In a muggle neighborhood? I bet the Ministry loved that."
He barked a surprised laugh. She cocked her head, fascinated. "I'd say they were somewhat less than thrilled. It was rather messy…reviving and obliviating that many Muggles. Ever after, the neighborhood biddies commented on 'that one year where I wore that wonderful Halloween costume…with the snakes that nearly looked real."
It was perhaps the first personal anecdote he'd ever deliberately shared with her. Even all these years after the fall of Voldemort he hated the fact that Harry had shared his personal details with the world at large…and since Harry was out of reach and she wasn't, she often felt the rough edge of his brilliant wit.
Hagrid was standing outside the Great Hall. It was truly odd to see such a big man pout.
"I don' know what yer on about 'Mione. 'Tis jus' a bit o' fun."
She rolled her eyes. "Honestly Hagrid! Have you even read about the trouble they caused in Ancient Greece?"
Severus interrupted. "What, precisely are we discussing?"
She and Hagrid answered together. "Cupids."
Severus had the sudden urge to allow his jaw to drop. Once in a great while Hagrid was truly impressive. "How the hell did you get them into the country?"
Hagrid looked slightly bashful. "The Greek chap who sold me Fluffy might o' had a hand in it. I got 'em for my seventh years to study, but then I thought, what's the harm in lettin' em help with Valentine's seein' as they volunteered an all?"
Hermione fumed beside him. Severus drawled "You do realize that their major function in Ancient Greece was to inspire participation at Bacchanalia?"
Hagrid looked rather blank. Perhaps it was just as well if he didn't know what that meant. This was a school after all…
Professor Granger interrupted his thoughts. "Let's get them back to wherever they belong before they cause more trouble than we've already got."
His eyes were assaulted as soon as he entered the hall…a mixture of red and pink moth-eaten velvet tablecloths were spread over the tables, everlasting luminous balloons in red, white and pink floated in the air and littered the aisles, and huge vases of cabbage roses were on every surface. But most of all, there was a full flock of be-winged, be-diapered, bow-wielding cherubs hovering in every corner.
Hermione stood beside him and whispered. "Merlin, there must be two dozen of them!"
And there were. From a distance they looked like beardless chubby-cheeked boys, but the eyes gave them away. There was something in them that made his skin crawl…something alien…something that did not think like a human being, however much the little creatures resembled them.
The snakes in the witch's hair gave a weak hiss as the leader of the flock hovered in front of them. He was draped in the same white loincloth, carried the same golden bow and quiver of arrows…but this one was indisputably the leader.
The cherub looked boldly at Severus.
"We have traveled a very long way and were promised a proper feed wizard."
Hagrid stepped up and grinned at the little creature. "A'course. No one leaves Hogwarts hungry…the elves made somethin' special…nectar and barley bread."
"That is food giant…not a feed."
"I don' understand."
It winged its way across the hall. "You will."
Severus and Hermione drew their wands. Severus growled "Enough of this."
The leader ignored him and one of the chubbiest of the Cupids waved a hand. Severus snarled as the magic slid through his shield spell. He looked down and his robes were baby pink.
His expression was so murderous that neither of his companions laughed. He waved his wand and changed them back to black. His voice was very soft. "Get. Out."
The little creatures laughed. Severus instinctively moved closer to the witch beside him.
"We are the stuff of legend wizard…"
Professor Granger interrupted him. "You talk too much." Ropes flew from her wand and snared one of the little menaces.
Within seconds, the air was full of arrows. Severus found himself casting back to back with the witch, alternating attacks and shield spells while Hagrid swatted at the arrows like pesky flies.
The Cupids quickly realized that their arrows had no effect on the half-giant and that Snape and Hermione were well protected by their wands.
The chubby little devils changed tactics, transfiguring Hagrid's typically baggy clothing into a twin of their own white loin cloths.
Hermione was so distracted by the sight that Severus had to pull her out of the way of the next barrage.
She deflected a bench that a stringy specimen charmed to ram them. Severus hit the chubbiest cherub with a sleeping spell.
"Think nothing of it."
The dozen Cupids that were still able to fly converged on Hagrid. Severus and Hermione shot spells but he went down with a muffled yell, covered in flapping white wings.
Severus moved toward Hagrid, but the leader of the flock blocked his path.
"We will leave once we feed wizard, not before. It must be either lust or love."
Hermione shot a spell at him, which the leader dodged easily. "Nothing in the magical world can engineer love."
"Intelligent, powerful…beautiful for your kind…you would be a feast fit for a god, witch."
She laughed as she shot another spell at him. "You think rather highly of yourself don't you?"
Severus blocked another volley of arrows. "Peddle that tripe elsewhere if you please. Even Muggles eventually realized that you are nothing more than flying pests that are effective aphrodisiacs…you cause nothing more than base lust."
The little creature bared his teeth menacingly. "Tis true…we cannot create love…but we can feed on it."
Severus sneered at the winged wretch. "Peddle your nonsense elsewhere."
"You do not see the obvious wizard."
Magic slipped past the shield spells and covered Severus and Hermione in a fine mist.
Severus found himself looking into the most tempting pair of amber eyes he'd ever seen. He knew, from an intellectual standpoint, that he'd seen her eyes many times. How could he have missed their allure before?
Neither the snakes still in her hair nor the slight green tinge in her skin deterred him in the least. He pulled her into his arms, against his chest and plundered her mouth like he was drowning and her kiss was his only lifeline.
She kissed him back, clutching his robes, standing on tip toe to get as close to him as she could. He picked the little witch up and she wrapped her robe-covered legs around his waist.
Severus felt a large hand pulling him away from his witch. He snarled and went for his wand, only to find that he'd dropped it.
That shocked him enough for Hagrid to separate them.
Hermione was squirming to get back to Severus, and Severus found his hands reaching for her.
Hagrid shook them both roughly.
The lead Cupid winged over lazily.
"They can't fight it Giant…this is our deepest magic." All of the remaining cherubs were swooping around, seeming to gain strength as they fed.
Severus pulled Hermione's lithe frame to his and whispered "Later…we deal with the cupids now, and I swear to you, we will finish this later."
The witch growled. "Fine! Hagrid, did the Greek chap happen to tell you how to remove these winged wretches?"
Hagrid shook his large head. "Naw…he didn't have no idea they'd be up at the school."
Severus pulled Hermione close. "We'll use fire."
He produced a wicked whip of flame. The little creatures looked frightened for the first time. His witch copied the wand motion and they started flicking the creatures with the whips.
The tide of the battle quickly turned in their favor as the be-winged bastards flew away: feathers flying, hands clutching their scorched buttocks, howling.
The leader snarled at Severus. "You'll find that our influence won't wane potions master, even if we do wing away. Once seen, you cannot un-see." And with that rather cryptic comment, it flew out the window.
Hagrid scratched his head. "What did he mean?"
Severus threw up a set of powerful wards to keep the little buggers away and snarled "He meant that we'd never be able to forget the sight of you in a giant diaper."
That was not, of course, what the cupid had meant.
Severus finished his restoration draught, outwardly calm.
You could not un-see the beauty in someone's eyes.
He had seen what he had studiously ignored for years. Hermione Granger was beautiful and powerful…and completely unobtainable.
One could not unmake an action. You might forget, in time, the taste of lips, the feeling of sweet curves, and the excitement of her legs wrapped around your body…but nothing could change the fact that it had happened.
As acting headmaster he postponed the dance. It wasn't hard to argue the point. Hagrid was the only professor that was completely over the Gorgon Pox, and the great hall was still decimated from the infestation of white-winged wretches. Minerva might be a bit annoyed with him, but he didn't have to face her for a few days yet…not until her hair stopped hissing at any rate.
It was very late when he delivered the last batch of restoration draught to the hospital wing. The various bumps and bruises were beginning to make themselves known, and his neck was stiff. He had bruise salve of course, but he didn't often bother to treat minor hurts. Applying anything on one's back was difficult…
An image of small hands applying the unguent in his mind caused him to stop in the middle of the corridor and steady himself against the stone wall.
Right on cue, as if the universe were laughing at him, Hermi…Professor Granger was there.
What the devil was she doing out of bed at this hour?
Of course, that thought did his poor mind no good at all.
"Are you hurt?"
He shook his head, moving away from her concerned eyes.
"Simply weary Professor Granger. I'll bid you good night."
She grabbed the edge of his robes. "Oh no you don't. I came down to the infirmary for bruise ointment and I'm guessing you need some too…"
He stared at her hand, holding the very jar of bruise balm that he'd imagined a moment before.
She smiled brightly at him. He noticed her teeth were less pointed than they'd been in the afternoon. Her skin was almost normal and her hair was no longer hissing.
"Come to my rooms and I'll share." He didn't have a clue what his face was showing…perhaps it stayed blank. Merlin knew that he'd had enough practice in stressful situations.
He moved to the left and something twinged in his neck along the old bite scar from the Dark Lord's damn snake. That twinge warned of a sleepless night to come. He glanced at the witch. "Thank you. Your aid would be…welcome."
If he was going to suffer a sleepless night anyway, he might as well feel her fingers on his skin.
Her quarters were warm, as befitted the head of Gryffindor house. Her sitting room looked like she'd ransacked a library; he drifted toward the titles as soon as he walked in. The witch grinned.
He nodded. "I could do with a cup. It's been a long day."
She flicked her wand at the small kitchen and the tea things assembled themselves neatly on the tray.
They drank in awkward silence.
"I'm sorry…about today."
He arched a brow at her.
"That's not to say…I mean…"
"Hermione." She glared at him. "I've known you for years, we work together, and I had my legs wrapped around your waist a few hours ago. I think we should be on first name terms by now."
He took a sip of his tea. "You never invited me to use your name before, you could have asked at any time since you graduated."
"You've been waiting for permission? I was certain that you didn't like me as well as the other Professors."
"Not even magic could compel me to kiss Hagrid."
Her eyes (those expressive, wonderful eyes) filled with laughter until it poured out of her mouth. He allowed himself a small smile…not for his own witticism, but because he was sitting with the witch, watching her laugh.
Her eyes softened. "Take off your robes and I'll deal with those bruises."
He knew his face was absolutely impassive as his fingers ghosted along the buttons of his robes, then his frock coat, and then along the white lawn shirt he wore. He knew, because he was controlling his face and his body with as much of a will of iron as he'd ever used amongst the Death Eaters.
The witch watched him. He did not look at her face as his skin was revealed. He didn't want to see her shock at the curse scars, the ragged edges of the old snake bite, the silvery remains of the dark mark on his arm. He simply turned and presented his bruised back to her.
He felt her fingers tremble as she rubbed the thick paste into the bruise on his shoulder. "This is already turning purple."
"It will heal quickly once the paste is on it." His neck would keep him up all night, but potions didn't help the occasional bouts of cramping. Her hands rubbed and warmed his skin, relieving some of the pain as they went. She went all the way down to the small of his back and then moved back to his neck. Her fingers massaged the scar, soothing the ache.
He looked up at her, surprised. "How did you know it hurt there?"
She smiled and continued the massage. "I could tell by the way you held yourself."
She moved to his front and rubbed the paste into a small bruise on his bicep.
He might be older than her, but he wasn't running to fat, and he'd always been strong and lean, like a long distance runner. He rather suspected that his way of striding about the castle had a lot to do with that. If one discounted the bruising and the scars, he wasn't in bad shape.
He took the jar of paste from her. "I can get the rest later." He fought a blush as her eyes roved his body, as if seeking the location of the other bruises.
He cleared his throat. "Are there any that you need help with?"
She shook her head slowly. "You took the brunt of those assaults. I only have a long on my leg and this one on my forearm." She showed him a deep plum-colored contusion that ran the length of her wand arm.
He frowned fiercely. "I might have taken more projectiles, but none of my bruises would lame me." He scooped out a goodly amount of paste and soothed the abused flesh.
"Is the one on your leg as bad as this one?" She looked down, which was answer enough.
"No. Show it to me or show it to Poppy…"
She pulled her robe up to the middle of her thigh.
Calling it a single bruise didn't really cover it. It was a long blight on her creamy skin that ran from her shin up past the skin displayed in front of him.
He took in a hissing breath. "We should have sautéed those creatures and fed them to that gullible half-giant."
He started working the paste into her leg. "Cherub kabobs."
She grinned, seemingly unaffected by his hands running over her skin. "Deep-fried Cupid!"
He couldn't help the grin pulling at his mouth. "Served with chips and vinegar."
Her robes inched higher as she laughed. His fingers were working the paste into her upper thigh now. "You should have seen to this earlier."
She shrugged. He saw just the edge of something green and lacy under the robes. Knickers? A slip? He rubbed the remaining paste into her leg and stood abruptly. He hastily buttoned his shirt.
She stilled his fingers with one soft hand.
"Thank you…for treating my bruises."
He nodded, waiting for…something.
"You could have another cup of tea you know."
She stood and the robes fell down, much to his dismay and relief.
"It's late…we have to deal with the dunderheads tomorrow…"
She nodded, looking slightly dejected.
Then she squared her shoulders in a movement he immediately recognized. It was classic Gryffindor body language. He'd seen it a million times before watching them do something suicidal.
"I just need to check one thing before you go."
He stared at her, uncomprehending.
"What is that?"
The next second his arms were full as the little witch launched herself at him, pulling his head down to devour his mouth hungrily.
Within seconds her legs were wrapped around him, breasts firmly pressed against his chest, and he could barely remember his own name.
He sat down on her couch with her still clinging to him. "Merlin, witch."
"You did say we'd finish this."
"We were both under the influence of what amounts to a lust spell."
"We aren't now…and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't feel a bit less inclined toward you than I did this afternoon when we were under the spell." She didn't give him a chance to speak; she simply started kissing him again.
Mad, forward, wonderful witch!
She was wearing a lacy green dress under the robes…it was mouthwatering.
"Tell me…does the head of Gryffindor house often wear Slytherin green under her robes?"
She hid her face in his neck and chuckled. "I like green."
He ran a finger along her collarbone and purred "I never knew exactly how fond I was of it until this moment."
She groaned and kissed him again. It was soft with an edge of something rather demanding…
He groaned and pulled her under him, not caring that she would feel him against her leg…she had caused the reaction after all.
Her fingers unbuttoned his shirt and suddenly she was kissing his neck, not minding the ugly purple scars he kept hidden under his stiff white collar. Her fingers traced the lines of his chest and her mouth moved…kissing, sucking, nipping as she went.
She finally looked up at him. "Severus…come to my room."
He was shocked, and then he mocked himself. They were making out like two teenagers on her couch, what did he expect a grown witch to do?"
But he wasn't your average wizard. He stood, and scooped her up. He was more than willing to do whatever she needed tonight, but he'd do it his way.
She kissed him again. "Second door on the right."
Her room was neat, and her canopy was green. He didn't have a chance to see the details because as soon as he put her on the bed, he was at the tiny buttons on her dress, kissing the exposed skin as it appeared, down the center of her body.
Her silky knicker set was as green as the dress. She must have charmed them to match.
He ran a hand over her satin-clad breast, cupping her firmly. "Was I expected?"
She laughed wildly. "Before this afternoon? No. I was just a bit green this morning so I put on pretty things under my robes so I'd have the confidence to deal with everyone…especially you." She chuckled a little. "Never mind...I suppose you were on my mind when I was picking out my underwear…how embarrassing is that?"
"Only a Gryffindor would admit such a thing." He caught her pebbled nipple in his teeth, wetting the satin.
He didn't bother working around her knickers long. As attractive as they were, framing her skin, he wanted unhampered access to her body.
She was slick before he ever touched her sweet core. He took some time to enjoy her taste, her reactions, but when she moved to return the action he had to stop her.
He wouldn't last two minutes if she wrapped her lips around him now.
He positioned himself at her entrance. "Say yes."
He slipped inside her before the second 'yes' was out of her mouth. She was incredibly warm, and her body welcomed him, hips angling for the best angle, legs around his waist, her heels digging into his arse to encourage him.
They quickly found a rhythm that worked for them, powerful thrusts and guttural moans…they rose to a crescendo together.
He didn't even blush when it was her name that he cried as he filled her. There was no room for anything but pleasure.
They didn't even cast a cleansing charm before they fell asleep, still holding one another.
He woke before her the next morning. Her curtains were thick, but he was used to the total darkness of his own rooms, so the first light of dawn woke him. He was sticky in places he didn't particularly enjoy being sticky. He cast a cleansing charm and summoned a potion before waking her.
"Hermione." The witch snuggled deeper into his arms, wild hair curling all over both of them.
He ran his hands over her body for a moment. His body was quite willing to have another go, but they had dunderheads to teach…
He kissed her neck softly.
She opened her eyes.
She didn't scream when she saw his face by the morning light. He counted that as a win.
She ran a warm hand over his cheekbone. "Good morning."
He felt indisputably smug about her reaction. He probably looked smug as well.
"Good morning. I have class in an hour and a half, so I need to leave…" But he hadn't wanted to leave without waking her.
He reached for the potion and handed it to her.
"Here…you should take that now."
She smiled and took the potion. "Oh….that was a morning-after potion."
Severus raised a brow. "What were you expecting?"
She shrugged, drawing his attention to her sheet-covered breasts. "Not a clue. Maybe a pain potion."
He eyed her. "Are you still bruised?"
He summoned a pain potion as well. She thanked him with a kiss. He summoned his trousers and underwear, pulling them on without shame. The witch had seen the worst and hadn't flinched.
He turned back to see her looking down at her hands.
He leaned across the bed. "I don't have rounds tonight."
"Neither do I." She looked hopeful. Such a Gryffindor.
"Would you care to have dinner? We could go to Hogsmead or London if you'd prefer." He felt a tense, uncomfortable tightness in his chest. "I would like the opportunity to see where this goes…"
She smiled up at him.
"I'd love to."
Six months later, when asked what the small fried canapé was, Hermione (wearing a lovely white gown) grinned at her new husband and said "The wings? We call them Deep Fried Cupid."
Hermione grinned as their wedding guests complemented them on the catering. She really had married the most amazing wizard.
AN: It's late, but I hope you liked it anyway!